Heading into the final minutes of Saturday’s football game against St. Lawrence University, the Pride, led by a 6-yard carry from senior halfback Austin Bateman that brought the Pride into a threatening position, were able to overcome a 13-point deficit to win 21-20 on Homecoming Weekend at Springfield College.
Fans watching Bateman and the Pride were made aware of the fact that the football team was hosting the game to raise awareness about sexual assault.
Prior to the game, senior Criminal Justice major Alexandra Ferreira lapped Stagg Field, hanging white ribbons from the black fence that surrounds the turf.
In an attempt to bring awareness of sexual assault to Springfield College, Ferreira, along with her co-interns at The Law Offices of Dunn and Phillips (Tom Murray, Mike MacDonald and Bateman), decided to utilize the football game.
The word was spread about the seminar that will be hosted in the Dodge Ballroom, located in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union on November 5 at 7 p.m.
“Our main goal is to end silence and stop violence against women,” said Ferreira. “We want to make students aware of the rights that they have underneath Title IX and the Cleary Act. We want to connect them with authorities and make them feel comfortable reporting any instances of sexual violence that they may experience and know what resources are available to them on campus to assist them through the process.”
On November 5, the Springfield College football team will be attending the seminar and participating in a photo shoot in support of the campaign.
“We thought that men speaking about violence against women gives a new face to the movement,” continued Ferreira. “People always listen to women who are involved in the issue and advocating for it, but when men speak out, it kind of empowers the issue more because they are typically seen as the assailants and the ones that would be committing the violence.”
“So the fact that the football team is coming out and saying that they support ending violence against women and they’re taking a stand for the issue kind of gives it more power and a completely different face that it hasn’t seen before.”
Ferreira, Murray, MacDonald and Bateman have joined up with the White Ribbon Campaign, which, according to their website, is “the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promoting gender equality, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.”
Most recently, the group hosted a seminar at UMass-Amherst through The Law Offices of Dunn and Phillips. Along with UMass-Amherst and Springfield College, the firm is looking to be able to host seminars at more schools in Western Massachusetts.
“It went really well. We had some guest speakers from California and Illinois and they are girls that advocate nationally,” added Ferreira. “They are involved with all the UConn cases that are going on in the media right now with Title IX and the Cleary Act.”
As for the Springfield College seminar, the speakers will be coming internally.
Melissa Ortendahl, coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drug Education and Community Standards, Bryan Krylowicz, the director of the Counseling Center, and Kelly Cournoyer, Public Safety officer, will all be speaking to the attendees of the seminar.
In support of the campaign and the seminar, the group will be selling T-shirts on Thursday, Oct. 31 in Cheney Hall and Friday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union. All proceeds will be donated directly to the Young Women Christians Association (YWCA).